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Civilians Reportedly Killed Execution-Style While Sheltering in a Gaza School

Meanwhile, the Gaza Health Ministry says Israeli forces shot Palestinians after ordering them to leave a hospital.

A view of the damage while the Israeli attacks continue in Rafah, Gaza, on December 14, 2023.

Casualties

  • 18,608+ killed* and more than 50,594 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 286 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on December 12. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has not been able to regularly and accurately update its tolls since mid-November. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 20,000.

Key Developments

  • Gaza Health Ministry: 296 Palestinian medics killed by Israeli forces since October 7.
  • Palestinian Ministry of Education: 3,714 students have been killed and 5,700 injured in Gaza and the occupied West Bank since October 7.
  • PRCS: The situation in Jenin continues to deteriorate as the Israeli military maintains a siege on the area for the third consecutive day.
  • Israeli authorities demolished four Palestinian buildings in occupied East Jerusalem, leaving 36 people homeless.
  • Reports of Palestinian civilians killed execution-style while sheltering in a school in northern Gaza.
  • Wafa: Israeli forces detained 18 Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy and his father, during military raids in the West Bank overnight.
  • 92% of Palestinians in the West Bank want Abbas to resign, according to a poll done by the Palestinian Center for Social Research.
  • Gaza Health Ministry: Israeli forces shot several Palestinians after ordering them to leave Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.
  • UN: Almost half of Gaza’s 1.9 million population is now seeking shelter in the Rafah Governorate area in southern Gaza.
  • Biden administration staffers hold a vigil outside the White House, call on Biden to support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Gaza: Civilians Killed Execution-Style and Children Sleeping in the Rain

Almost ten weeks into Israel’s ruthless attacks on Gaza, about 90% of the population is displaced and the attacks on civilians continue to grow more gruesome.

The bodies of Palestinians, including women, children, and newborns, were found piled up in the Shadia Abu Ghazala school in northern Gaza, with people reporting that they had been shot at point-blank range.

Al Jazeera has shared witness testimonies, claiming that the civilians were killed execution-style by Israeli soldiers, the bodies left behind for their families to find.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the territory’s 1.9 million residents are seeking shelter in the Rafah governorate area in southern Gaza.

On Wednesday, heavy rain encompassed the Strip, filled with displaced people, worsening the already miserable and dangerous situation as people do not have adequate clothing, electricity, or shelter.

“My son is sick because of the bitter cold and my daughter is barefoot. It’s like we are beggars,” Aziza al-Shabrawi, 38, told Al Jazeera, “No one cares, and no one helps.”

“Our house was destroyed, our child was martyred and I remain facing it all. This is the fifth place we have had to move to, fleeing from one place to another, with nothing but a T-shirt on,” she continued, hanging wet clothes outside her tent.

In Gaza’s southern district of Rafah, where Israel told civilians to evacuate, Palestinians faced “intense” Israeli bombardment overnight on Wednesday.

“This area was designated as safe and … the majority of Gazans had been ordered to flee” to the area, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Abu Azzoum reported.

At least 27 Palestinians were killed in the airstrikes, and dozens of others have been injured, according to Wafa.

With nowhere safe in the Gaza Strip, more and more residents are becoming resigned to staying where they are and ignoring Israeli calls for evacuation from place to place.

“There is no place safe here in Khan Younis. Israeli tanks are as close as 600 meters [1,968 feet]. There are snipers on top of buildings that shoot whatever moves. People do not know where to go,” Mansour Shouman, a Palestinian Canadian sheltering in Nasser Hospital, told Al Jazeera.

Shouman refuses to evacuate Khan Younis despite the eastern area being “completely taken over by the Israeli military.”

“Even if you successfully reach Rafah, there is no temporary shelter, food, or water. That’s why people are deciding to stay here in Khan Younis – at least it’s better than the unknown,” he explained.

“I have a friend who tried to reach Rafah. When they reached there his family was bombed – his wife lost her legs, one of his children lost her eyes, and his youngest daughter is nowhere to be found. Khan Younis residents are not able to find safe refuge anywhere,” Shouman continued.

In order to alleviate some of the ongoing medical crisis, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has announced a Qatari field hospital is being set up in Rafah, southern Gaza, comprising 50 beds, an operating room, and an ICU.

However, with over 50,000 injuries and the collapse of the healthcare system in the besieged enclave, it is still not nearly enough to support the population as injuries continue to mount under Israel’s ruthless attacks.

Meanwhile, in the northern Gaza Strip, the Gaza Health Ministry has reported concerning news following a several-day-long siege and shelling of Kamal Adwan Hospital.

The Ministry says Israeli forces shot several Palestinians after ordering them to leave the Hospital.

An elderly man told Al Jazeera that “the Israeli army used loudspeakers to demand the evacuation of the displaced individuals from the hospital, citing planned demolition operations.”

“Conditions in the Hospital are dire with no water or electricity. Bodies are scattered on the ground,” one survivor told Al Jazeera.

According to UNRWA, about 70 staff from Kamal Adwan Hospital are still being detained in unknown locations outside of the hospital by the Israeli military. However, five doctors and all the female staff have been released.

“Reports from those released indicate that they were interrogated, beaten, and exposed to the harsh weather before they eventually returned to the hospital,” UNRWA added.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is “gravely concerned for their welfare, as well as patients, staff and displaced people reportedly trapped inside without electricity, water or food.”

“Two mothers were killed at the Hospital on Monday when the maternity department was hit,” continued the UK-based organization, condemning Israel’s “systematic dismantling” of Gaza’s health system.

11 Dead: Three Day Ongoing Military Siege in West Bank

In Jenin refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank, Palestinians have been living under a military siege imposed by Israeli forces since early on Tuesday, which has extended beyond the refugee camp and into Jenin city.

During the three-day siege, Israeli forces killed 11 and wounded at least 34, including three in critical condition, according to Wafa News.

The situation “continues to deteriorate,” says the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

“We are receiving scores of emergency calls related to illness whereby access by medical teams is hindered,” said the PRCS.

“There is a severe shortage in baby formula and bread for dozens of citizens whose homes are occupied by soldiers and are being prevented from leaving,” the group added.

Israeli forces detained approximately 500 people and released 400 of them on Wednesday evening.

“The released people are being hosted by the village council and the people of Rummana near Jenin, because the camp is under siege and they cannot return right now,” al-Rub said.

Hassan Subeihat, head of the Rummana village council, west of Jenin, told Al Jazeera: “We are hosting them in shelter centers, in some homes, and in mosques in the village.

“Some of them arrived in the village having been beaten, while others came without adequate clothing for the winter. Some were barefoot.”

On Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported that more Israeli forces are headed towards the city and the refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, citing Kamal Abu al-Rub, Jenin’s acting governor, meaning the situation is expected to continue deteriorating.

The attack is one of the largest military incursions on the city since 2002, during the Second Intifada when Israeli forces killed 52 Palestinians during a 10-day invasion.

Israeli attacks on the camp, which is a hub for resistance against Israel’s ongoing, brutal occupation, have been steadily increasing over the last two years.

Since October 7, Israel has intensified their attacks, using drone strikes and bombing homes in the densely populated residential neighborhood. The army has killed at least 58 Palestinians during these attacks, reported Al Jazeera, citing The Freedom Theater.

Hamas says the continuing Israeli raid in Jenin will not “succeed in stopping the rising path of resistance.”

Letters to the U.S.: Stop Israel’s War

Pressure is mounting for US President Joe Biden to put a stop to Israel’s ongoing attacks as they kill record numbers of civilians, financed by the US. However, ” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters, “[US] support for Israel is not diminished.”

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan arrived in Israel on Thursday afternoon to meet with top Israeli officials, including Netanyahu’s war cabinet, as well as Israeli President Herzog, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, as cited by Al Jazeera.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement slamming the US government for continued support.

“The Biden administration stands almost alone on the world stage in defending and enabling the far-right Israeli government’s campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Gaza, administration officials must respond to the reported execution-style massacre of women, children and babies seeking refuge in a school in Gaza,” said CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper.

“Our nation must stop enabling what even President Biden privately admits is the ‘indiscriminate’ targeting of innocent Palestinians,” Hooper concluded.

Over a dozen Israeli human rights groups, including B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and Rabbis for Human Rights, have also signed a letter to Biden, urging him to leverage his influence to avert the “extreme humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip.

“Israel’s policy has driven the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to the point of catastrophe – not only as an inevitable outcome of war,” the letter said.

“You have the power to influence our government to change its policy and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, in accordance with Israel’s legal obligations and the needs of the population,” the letter said, adding that allowing humanitarian aid into the enclave was “not a gesture of goodwill on Israel’s part, but one of its obligations.”

Similarly, over 100 US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staff members have signed an open letter to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas denouncing the department’s handling of the war in Gaza.

“The grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the conditions in the West Bank are circumstances that the Department would generally respond to in various ways,” the letter, dated November 22, said according to Al Jazeera.

“Yet DHS leadership has seemingly turned a blind eye to the bombing of refugee camps, hospitals, ambulances, and civilians,” it continued.

Even Biden administration staffers have voiced their disapproval of the US’s role in Israel’s war on Gaza.

On Wednesday, over three dozen people, including political appointees, administration staffers, and civil service career staff, attended a vigil in front of the White House, calling on Biden to support a ceasefire, reported CNN.

Still, the White House made it clear on Wednesday that their support for Israel “has not diminished.”

Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, has also emphasized that international support is not their priority and that the government has no intentions to stop their attacks.

“Israel will continue the war against Hamas with or without international support,” says Cohen.

“A ceasefire at the current stage is a gift to the terrorist organization Hamas and will allow it to return and threaten the residents of Israel,” Cohen continued.

Similarly, the Israeli Prime Minister has repeatedly said that he will not stop the attacks on Gaza until Hamas is “eliminated.”

However, Imad Harb, director of research at the Arab Center Washington DC, told Al Jazeera that this is “unachievable.”

“As long as there is any resistance in northern or in southern Gaza or anywhere, as long as there are people who are still fighting and shooting, there is no accomplishment of that goal,” Harb said.

While Harb says it is difficult to discern how long the war will go on, time is working against Israel amid several factors, including pressure on the Israeli economy, military fatigue, and mounting international demands, including in the US, to end the war.

Harb told Al Jazeera that even if Israel kills Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, it would not mean the end of Hamas. “Killing Sinwar is only a prelude for creating more Sinwars. If they kill him, I doubt that Palestinians will not find somebody else to lead the fight.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has said he is open to talks with Israel to end the war and made it clear that any arrangements made for Gaza post-war without involving Hamas and other Palestinian factions are an “illusion.”

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